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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/28

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sive, and so far useless. The entire charter is a series of compromises, and every compromise on a salary was at the maximum rate.

This method of arranging the expenses of the greater city increased the cost of government beyond the highest estimates of those who had advocated consolidation. The initial cost was further increased by reason of the fact that no precautions were taken to prevent the various municipalities to be united from increasing their bonded and contract indebtedness during the last year of their separate existence. The result of that oversight was that every municipality, the former city of New York included, issued bonds and entered upon contracts with somewhat reckless disregard of the future. In this way a heavy burden of unnecessary expense was added to the legitimate account charged against the consolidated city.

Greater New York began business in a condition of apparent bankruptcy, because the debts exceeded the constitutional limitation of ten per cent of the assessed value of taxable real estate. To overcome this and to meet the extra expense of government by the new system it was necessary to greatly increase the tax rate.

The financial condition of New York on January 1, 1900, was satisfactory except in the matter of current expenses. The gross accepted funded debt on that date was $358,104,307.11, against which there was a sinking fund of $105,435,871.70, leaving a net funded debt of $252,668,435.41. Considered in connection with the wealth of the city, this debt is not excessive. The city of Paris, with smaller available resources, has a debt in excess of $500,000,000. The gross expenditures of the city during 1899, exclusive of permanent improvements, paid for from the proceeds of bonds, were $93,520,082.03, and in 1900 the expenses will be some $3,000,000 less.

The total receipts of the city for the same period, from all sources and for all purposes, were approximately $108,000,000. The income was derived from three general sources, taxation yielding $84,000,000. The budget, which represents the money to be raised by taxation, was reduced $9,000,000 by income known as the general fund. The chief items of this were: Excise taxes, $3,000,000; school money from the State, $1,280,883.45; fees of various county and city offices, $246,576.65; interest on taxes and assessments, $979,185.35; and unexpended appropriations, $1,356,786.57.

Aside from the revenues classed as the general fund, New York has no income from any source that can be applied to current expenses for the reduction of taxation. The immensely valuable franchises heretofore granted to private corporations yield a reve-